The Arts

Free summer concert series returns for third year at Veterans Beach in Mattituck

The Mattituck Park District will kick off its third annual free summer concert series at Veterans Park on June 3.

The series, born out of the COVID-19 pandemic when live entertainment was scarce, will include five shows on Saturdays from 5-7:30 p.m.

This year’s performers include reggae group Winston Irie & Selective Security on June 3, followed by classic rockers Who Are Those Guys July 1, popular country and rockabilly act Gene Casey & the Lone Sharks July 22, Eagles tribute group The Eagle River Band Aug 12 and Beatles tribute act Liverpool Shuffle Sept 2.

“I think we averaged about 350 people per show last year,” Kevin Byrne, one of the Mattituck Park District’s commissioners, said. “It’s mainly people living in the neighborhood, it’s friends, families, people of all ages. [This year] we expect turnout to be higher.”

During each concert, food, beer and wine will be available for purchase in the “Biergarten” inside the park’s community room. It will open 30 minutes before each show and remain open until 8:15 p.m.

Back in the spring of 2021, before Mr. Byrne was a park district commissioner, he was a musician stuck inside pining to play before a crowd. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he could not sing or play guitar alongside his bandmates in The Eagle River Band.

He discussed the possibility of an outdoor concert at Veterans Park with one of the other park commissioners to reunite bands and audiences after being apart for so long.

“Bands hadn’t been working, people were cooped up in their houses,” he said. “We thought it would be a really good idea to have some music shows at the beach.” 

There was however, one small problem: money.

“The park district was not in a position financially to put on such an event, so I offered as a volunteer to organize it, raise money, get sponsors and run it,” Mr. Byrne said. “And during my process of going through that and working with the park district, it kind of became an idea that I might run for one of the commissioners of the park district.”

Now that he serves the park district in an official capacity, Mr. Bryne said he wants the district to expand the free entertainment it offers the general public, starting with an outdoor screening of the recent box office smash, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” on Friday, Aug. 18 at 7:45 p.m.

“This year we will have for the first time a summer movie night,” he said. “We’re going to erect a very large outdoor video screen and a nice sound system and have a free night at the movies out on the beach.”